Last summer I purchased a set of Continental Double Fighter II tires for the Long Haul Trucker, and I’ve used these as my default gravel road tires ever since.
I selected them for the relatively smooth center tread — which roll pretty well on both pavement and smooth gravel roads — and the knobby sides, which provide a little extra grip in corners and on loose surfaces.
I’ve been happy with the tires, and they served me well for about 2000 miles, with good performance and very few flats. But after that point, they flatted rather too often for my taste, and I resolved to see if I could find something perhaps with a Kevlar belt to protect against thorns (the cause of most of my flats).
My search led me to Serfas. It’s not one of the better-known names in tires, but I’d used a Serfas Barista on the back of my recumbent a couple years ago, and had been happy with the flat resistance, durability, and performance.
Turns out, Serfas has a tire very similar to the Double Fighters, called the “Vermin”.
The Vermin has basically the same tread pattern as the Double Fighter — semi-slick in the middle, knobs on the sides — but adds what the call a “Flat Protection System”, which “creates an armor-like shield between two distinct rubber casings for unrivaled puncture resistance.”
The Vermin has front-specific and rear-specific versions (unlike the Double Fighters). The only difference seems to be extra ridges on the rear version, which makes it slightly heavier than the front, but both are still lighter than the Continentals (590/615 grams vs. 790 grams). They also cost a bit less than the Conti’s, which never hurts.
I’ve ordered and received the new tires, but haven’t mounted them up yet. I’m looking to get a few more miles out of the Continentals. Hopefully they’ll last long enough for me to save the Vermins for the Dirty Kanza.
Here are some photos, first of the Continental Double Fighter II and then the Serfas Vermin front and rear:
This is my rear tire (Continental Double Fighter II) after nearly 3000 miles. Not much left, and that crack looks troublesome…
The front tire (not pictured) has decent tread left, so for now, I’ve swapped the front tire to the rear wheel, and the rear to the front (adding a boot — an extra layer of old inner tube and duct tape — to the crack). I’ll see how long that lasts.
And here are the Serfas Vermin rear and front tires — side view.
Here are the Serfas Vermin front and rear tires — tread view.